Nonprofits, Businesses Step Up to Address Flint Water Crisis

Foundations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and celebrities are rallying to the aid of Flint, Michigan, after lead was found to have contaminated its water supply, Crain's Detroit Business reports.

One of the first to do so was the Flint-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which in October awarded $100,000 to provide free water filters to Flint residents as well as $4 million to help defray the $12 million cost of temporarily reconnecting the city to its previous water source until a new pipeline is completed this summer. Since then, as the furor over high lead levels in the city's water — and local and state authorities' feckless response — grew, donations of bottled water, water filters, and funds have poured in.

Crowdfunding platform CrowdRise, for example, is partnering with musician and Detroit native Big Sean and the Sean Anderson Foundation on the #HEALFLINTKIDS campaign; with grunge pioneers Pearl Jam on a campaign kicked off by a $300,000 donation; and with Michigan native Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, to provide a hundred cases of water through the United Way of Southeastern Michigan for every $20 donation to any Flint water crisis fundraiser hosted on the CrowdRise platform.

Elsewhere, Motown recording artist KEM has announced a partnership with the Salvation Army and its text-to-give campaign and has donated $10,000 to relief efforts, while the Community Foundation of Greater Flint is partnering with the Consumers Energy Foundation, which will donate $25,000 to the foundation's Child Health and Development Fund and match employee and retiree donations up to another $25,000; the Winter Blast Foundation, which has set a goal of $75,000 for a fundraiser festival featuring bands that have agreed to donate 10 percent of their fee; and Meridian Health Plan, which will match donations up to $40,000.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo have pledged to donate water to meet the daily needs of schoolchildren in Flint for the balance of the calendar year — an estimated 6.5 million bottles. And Sean Combs and Mark Wahlberg, part owners of AQUAhydrate, have pledged together with hip-hop artists Eminem and Wiz Khalifa to donate a million bottles of water to Flint residents.

"Mark and I made an initial pledge to donate and are committed to the continued aid to Flint residents as long as they need it,” said Combs. “We hope this commitment will inspire others to get involved as well."

"Businesses, Nonprofits Rally to Help Flint." Crain’s Detroit Business 01/28/2016. "AQUAhydrate Commits One Million Bottles to the People of Flint." AQUAhydrate Press Release 01/25/2016.